In a gender empowering step, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal for extension of the rules for maternity, child care and child adoption leaves for women soldiers, sailors and air warriors in the tri-services.

Now the women soldiers would be able to avail maternity facilities at par with their officer counterparts, the Ministry of Defence officially stated on Sunday. “With the issuing of the rules, the grant of such leaves to all women in the military, whether one is an officer or any other rank, will be equally applicable,” stated the Ministry.

According to the Ministry, the decision is in line with the Minister’s vision of inclusive participation of all women in the Armed Forces, irrespective of their ranks. “The extension of leave rules will go a long way in dealing with women-specific family and social issues relevant to the Armed Forces. This measure is going to improve the work conditions of women in the military and aid them to balance the spheres of professional and family life in a better manner, observed the MoD.

It is also a reflection of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s commitment towards utilising Nari Shakti, and to achieve that the three Services of Army, Navy and Air Force have spearheaded a paradigm shift with inclusion of women as soldiers, sailors and air warriors. With the recruitment of women Agniveers, the Armed Forces will be empowered with the bravery, dedication and patriotism of women soldiers, sailors and air warriors to defend the land, sea and air frontiers of the country, the Ministry added.

From being operationally deployed in Siachen, the highest battlefield in the world to being posted on warships as well as dominating the skies, Indian women are now breaking barriers in almost every field in the Armed Forces. In 2019, a significant milestone was also achieved through recruitment of women in the Indian Army as soldiers in the Corps of Military Police. Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh has always been of the view that women should be at par with their male counterparts in every field.